DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the Trump administration would need to provide a rationale for the firing of the Intelligence Community Inspector General.
President Donald Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson on Friday. Atkinson released the whistleblower complaint related to President Trump’s phone conversation with the Ukrainian President that led to accusations of quid pro and his subsequent impeachment.
In a letter sent Friday to the House and Senate Intelligence commmittees, President Trump informed the committees that he was removing Atkinson within 30 days.
“It is extremely important that we promote the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of Federal programs and activities. The Inspectors General have a critical role in the achievement of these goals. As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as President, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” he wrote.
“Inspectors general play a critical role in protecting against fraud, waste, abuse and misconduct, and their work helps ensure the government efficiently serves the people. And they often serve as an outlet to whistleblowers who shine a light to problems in government. They help drain the swamp, so any removal demands an explanation. Congress has been crystal clear that written reasons must be given when IGs are removed for a lack of confidence. More details are needed from the administration,” Grassley said in a released statement on Sunday.
He also added that the inspector general for the intelligence community needed to work to prevent leaks of classified information.
“The intelligence community inspector general is particularly essential to ensuring the nation’s secrets are well protected and powerful, highly invasive surveillance authorities are not abused. Going forward the ICIG must step up its focus on investigating those abuses and preventing leaks of classified information,” Grassley added.